decision making

Decision making: who do you go to for advice?


Have you ever made a bad decision? Looking back, was it avoidable, if only you had sought advice from someone? If not, then congratulations: you are uniquely blessed. If so, then welcome to our club, a large one indeed.


Avoidable bad decisions happen to everyone, and they keep happening to some repeatedly. Why?  We have been taught by parents, teachers and older ones to apologize when causing harm and to give thanks when accepting help.

But nobody trains the young people on what to do when they have an important decision to make, to ask themselves if they have the knowledge and experience to handle it, and if not, who does and can be of help.


For various reasons of faulty judgments, emotions, social relations, and even biology, people do not try or even like to bring the knowledge and experience of others to bear on their problems and challenges especially in the service of better decision making.


One reason for this failure is the fear of appearing weak. Another reason is that the school system trains our mind to do problems on our own without consulting anyone, which is considered cheating. Still another reason, a modern one, is that people think that consulting books or the web are good enough, neglecting that often good advice critically depends on one’s circumstances and goals, which vary greatly from one person to the next. Good books and web articles can convey principles and specific examples, but not address the great variety of people’s situations.


However, I believe that the main reason that people do not proactively seek advice from others is that they just don’t think of it; it’s not a practiced habit. Even when people do take the initiative of seeking out advice, they often don’t do it well; it’s not a practiced skill.


For example, they might seek advice from only one person in order to avoid the confusion and stress that result from getting contradictory advice. To become a skilled advice seeker, and thus make better decisions, it’s also helpful to understand that advice consists of much more than solutions to a problem.


Let’s consider the case of a man who wishes to rejoin the workforce after a long absence. Advice can consist of potential solutions – information about a specific opening – but it can also provide pointers to helpful people (someone similar to them who went through exactly what they are facing currently), readings, or events.


Advice can reveal dimensions of a problem that you haven’t even thought of or considered. Advice enables you to proceed with confidence that you’ve considered the available options, and deepens social engagement that can be drawn on in the future for mutual aid. The place for advice in your decision making about the issues of life is very important.

Some point to note in your decision making process:

  1. When you have a complicated problem or issue, consider whether seeking advice is worthwhile.
  2. Seeking advice is a skill that can be honed by learning its principles and best practices, such as how to identify who’s a good advisor.
  3. One’s life challenge is not to go it alone, but to artfully bring to bear the world’s knowledge and experience on whatever you are undertaking.

Seek to get advice today in your decision making and see how easy the journey of life would be for you.

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Author: Emmanuel Eneojo Samuel

Eneojo Emmanuel, a computer engineer by training, an educationalist with passion and a writer. I find great advantage in travelling, reading and writing. As humans, at some point in life we can get to a cross road and it’s not uncommon for our lives to be unravelled. Hence, my greatest passion is to use my abilities and writings to bring to the consciousness of people that they have a say over their lives and we do not allow circumstances define who we are. I believe there’s a greatness in everyone.

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